Definition of alumnus in English:

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Pronunciation: /əˈlʌmnəs/

noun (plural alumni /əˈlʌmnʌɪ/)

1A former pupil or student, especially a male one, of a particular school, college, or university: a Harvard alumnus a mixture of news about the University and articles by alumni
1.1A former member of a group, company, or organization: a Royal Ballet alumnus the Pop Idol alumnus revealed a hitherto hidden falsetto


When used in the singular, alumnus (which is a male form in Latin) generally refers to a male former student, with alumna being the corresponding female term, but the plural alumni can refer to pupils or students of either sex. In the extended meaning ‘a former member of a group or organization’, alumnus may refer to either a man or a woman.


Mid 17th century: from Latin, 'nursling, pupil', from alere 'nourish'.

  • alma mater from mid 17th century:

    This phrase, used with reference to a university or college once attended, first had the general sense ‘someone or something providing nourishment’; in Latin the literal meaning is ‘bounteous, nourishing mother’. It was a title given by the Romans to several goddesses but in particular to Ceres and Cybele, both representing fostering mother-figures. Alumnus (mid 17th century) is related, being Latin for ‘nursling, pupil’, from alere ‘nourish’, source of alma.

Words that rhyme with alumnus


For editors and proofreaders

Line breaks: alum|nus

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